United States Missile-Defense Test Over Pacific Ocean A Key Milestone

[Interceptor missile being fired | Photo: M. Peterson/US Airforce]
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Amid all missile madness in North Korea, the Pentagon did its own test—a long-range interceptor missile shot out across the Pacific Ocean May 30th. The US government availed fruitful results in its preparedness to combat any chaos from Kim Jong-un.

Pentagon Missile Defense Agency fired off this interceptor weapon via Vandenberg Air Force Base’s silo deep in California’s ground. The target—an intercontinental-range missile launched out of a test site from the Pacific’s Kwajalein Atoll.

United States Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Admiral Jim Syring said this development’s a “critical milestone” in a statement. “This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat. I am incredibly proud of the warfighters who executed this test and who operate this system every day,” Syring added.

[Video: courtesy of NBC News]

The US’s main motivation—North Korea was at it again. Their latest test went down the day before. Their target—a maritime economic area in Japan. This further solidifies US-missile testing, as Kim Jong-un’s seemingly relentless in his effort to further agitate his enemies.

Jong-un and his people have been boasting of a forthcoming ICBM—the west coast’s a possible target. More, the US government speculates North Koreans possess the ability to create a warhead small enough to serve as the tip of an ICBM. However, US Strategic Command General John Hyten explained Pyongyang’s ICBM ready, but they have yet to assemble a warhead that small.

While the US spent $244 million on missile testing, readiness hasn’t exactly reached perfection—there’s still work to be done. While North Korea’s intercontinental-range missiles currently do not have warheaded rockets, Pyongyang is diligent in their aim to achieve that end. They potentially possess decoys so elaborate an interceptor, counter weapon could perceive it as nuclear tipped.

[Source: Twitter/Donald J. Trump]

While in South Korea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said “the policy of strategic patience (with North Korea) has ended.” He went on to explain the US military-defense measures are imminent should North Korea escalate matters via their attack status.

Prior to the May-30th run, the US hadn’t done any testing since June 2014 (another fruitful instance). However, the two tests aren’t indicative of consistence. While systems attained combat-ready status in 2004, our defense interceptors have scored only four out of nine tests.

[Diagram of test run | Source: US Defense Department]
North Koreas stance is their weapons projects serve as protection from potential, US-military attacks.

Union of Concerned Scientist senior-member Laura Grego is anything but supportive in the US’s defense efforts. She deemed the interceptor an “advanced prototype”—i.e., a rudimentary version being tested. She seemingly views it as ultimately incapable despite perceived readiness in 2004. More, the interceptors serve as the US’s final-effort fighters should intercontinental-range missiles be fired upon the nation. (Hmmm)

However, interceptors aren’t all the Pentagon has in its defense cabinet. Other options include pieces effective in a medium- to shorter-range-ICBM situations—e.g., the Patriot missile (a bestseller amid foreign customers the US has sold to) and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). The US availed the latter to South Korea for their defense measures to thwart North Korean, medium-range weaponry.

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